The Gauntlet | Thrown
Salt Lake City, have you noticed our air? It’s no question that we live in the greatest state around¹, but it is also no question that we breathe the worst air of all fifty stars² come each February and July. Sadly, our ‘purple mountain majesties’ have become hazy-distance travesties. Just look out your window.
I claim no expertise, but the problem, my friends, is ozone³. All you really need to know is that ozone = shit, and shit shouldn’t be breathed4. Oh, and a primary ingredient in the smog cocktail comes from our vehicle tailpipes. Oh, and the hot sun and long summer hours, as nice as they may be, actually add to the problem. Oh, and…that’s enough; Google it5. There is a blanket of haze over our fair city and it needs to go.
The good news is, you can help6. We hereby send a COLLECTIVE challenge to you, our goodly readers and homegrown or transplanted lovers of Utah: get out of your car and skinny jeans7, put on some cut-offs [yes, cut-offs] and walk to work. Rise above the daily commute and take advantage of our city’s convenient public transit system. Better yet, get to work on two wheels — Salt Lake is now the proud home to the GREENbike sharing initiative, and all that’s required from you is a couple bucks and some pedal power8. Better, better still, channel Iron Maiden and run to the hills. Cody mentioned before the easy joy found in a hike or trail run, but there’s no harm in repeating ourselves here. Our mountains are forward9 and they want to get to know you. Get close, and they’ll love you with the kind of passion that tempts you to grab a cigarette in the afterglow. Don’t do that, though10. Snap a selfie or something to remember your time together, then relish in a self-imposed back-pat and the knowledge that you’ve done something for the greater good.
The point here is a simple one: we have to make an effort and join those who have already taken strides in the right direction. This month, our air quality has hovered near dangerous levels, but we’ve yet to cross that scary threshold into potentially-lethal territory. Let’s keep it that way. Every time we unnecessarily rev our engines, we’re killing ourselves a little bit by adding to the opaque and filthy chaos that’s parked just above our city. Do something else. Our city has options, and we’ve pictured a couple of them below. This is our challenge…the gauntlet has been thrown.
1 Reference any article on this site if you’re in doubt…which you aren’t.
2 This is a flag reference. You likely knew that, but did you know that UT is represented by the 45th star on that spangled banner? Did you?
3 Consider yourself warned. Ozone is the primary cause of summer air pollution. It is formed when volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) mix with sunlight and heat. Translation: stop driving.
4 Under any circumstance.
5 Just don’t do it while driving in your car.
6 Yes. You.
7 Preferably in that order.
8 Best to do this in the morning and/or evening, when ozone levels tend to be lower and safer.
9 No obligatory date or drink needed. They want you and they want you now.
10 Have you even been reading this?